Hugo Nominations 2017: Best Novellas

These Novella finalists were even harder to judge, but I enjoyed them all! Sorry it took so long to get through them.

Great reads to be had here and they are really showing me the breadth of current fantasy and science fiction. The field of genre is wide and varied! I’ve linked these back to their Goodreads pages (except for Pinsker’s since you can find it online.)


All Systems Red – Martha Wells

4 out of 5 stars

This was a seriously fun read. We follow an android, or “murderbot” as it calls itself, who is with a survey mission on an unmapped planet. As the mission of the survey team becomes more and more dangerous. Our Murderbot is soon caught between a rock and something to slam through and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it.

Wells writes with light humor, action, and uses a fun sci-fi premise that will please any reader. I cannot wait to read book two, since this was overall much too short!

“And Then There Were (N-One) – Sarah Pinkser

4 out of 5 stars

Pinkser does her own homage to Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” but there is also so much more here.

Pinsker’s protag (of the same name) goes to a conference where hundreds of other versions of herself are in attendance, on an island that is in just enough gray area to host such an event. The version of herself that discovered alternate realities is the host and our Sarah is tasked with investigating a suspicious murder that occurs, but where do you look when any of the culprits could be you?

Pinsker has a great voice throughout this story and even if it is somewhat confusing with so many other “Sarahs” around, she manages to give them all a unique voice when it suits her.

Binti: Home – Nnedi Okorafor (I actually already wrote a review for this one.)

5 out of 5 stars

Ms. Okorafor’s follow up to the strange and wonderful BINTI, HOME is a jarring, unsettling page-turner.

Starting with our heroine, Binti, who returns to Earth and the land of her Himba people, believing she would find peace. Little does she know that her life is going to become all the more complicated. The search for pace and belonging continues to bother Binti and she struggles to find a place for herself in the galaxy. And it only seems that every time she turns around, this question she wants to be answered only becomes more out of reach.

This is probably one of my favorite series of the past five years and I truly enjoy Okorafor’s themes of community, culture, and belonging.

The Black Tides of Heaven – JY Yang

3 out of 5 stars

Jy Yang creates a rich world with some unique elements, but at the end of the day, the book feels much too brief.

I was truly taken with the world of the Protectorate and the mysticism of the Slack. The world building is solid and fleshed out, to a point that I want more of it, yet the characters feel flat in such a dynamic setting with politics and ethnic tensions.

Akeha was by far the best part of this book, although he’s the main character and you feel carried with him to the end. I believe the book carries the emotional weight of the twins on its own merits of being well written, but I may have to read more from Yang to see where this story goes before I can give a full verdict.
Down Among The Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

3 out of 5 stars

Seanan McGuire gives us a new take on “Jack and Jill” and creates a story of twin girls who are raised by the most controlling parents before they flee to another world and attempt to find a place in a harsh, dark realm. Jacqueline and Jillian will either survive or perish without the other in a world inhabited by werewolves, vampires, and other ghouls.

An interesting story in its own right, but didn’t necessarily grab me, but I appreciated McGuire’s fable-style portal fantasy for what it was worth. It is part of the “Wayward Children” series so I might have to read the others to see how this one fits in with the rest. Overall, a well-crafted story.

River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

3 out of 5 stars

Three words: Cowboys. Hippos. Louisana. Do you really need any more?

Sarah Gailey gives us a really fun, pulpy tale of an alternative wild west, set in the deep south based on an actual (never implemented) US program to bring hippos to the USA. We follow a group of mercs and outlaws as they are tasked with clearing the great Mississippi river for feral hippos that have infested an area called the Harriet. Little does anyone know that there is more than just money that motivates this group, but revenge.

This novella is part of a series and I really do need to read more of this fun alt-history, because I really cannot get enough of murderous hippos!


One thought on “Hugo Nominations 2017: Best Novellas

  1. Pingback: THE HUGOS: 2018 | Pyles of Books

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